We welcome Jack Burnam as our Guest Conductor for 2023!
For more than 50 years, Jack Warren Burnam has pursued an active career in music as a choral conductor, as well as an organist, accompanist, and composer. He recently retired as Parish Musician of Immanuel on the Green in New Castle, Delaware, where he served for twelve years. During that time the Immanuel Choir, under Jack’s direction and in collaboration with colleagues at other parishes, traveled to England three times to sing week-long residencies in Bristol, Winchester, and Ely Cathedrals.
Prior to Immanuel on the Green, Jack served as Choirmaster and Organist of Immanuel Church, Highlands for 35 years. During his tenure, he founded the church’s first Choir of Girls, and subsequently a Choir of Boys; established a monthly Choral Evensong series; and saw the nine-person volunteer Adult Choir grow into a choir of over 30. In addition, Jack served as Music Director for Congregation Beth Emeth for 18 years; Director of Middle and Upper School Choral Music at Tower Hill School for 20 years; and founding Artistic Director of the chamber choir CoroAllegro for 27 years, during which time he conducted over 500 sacred and secular works ranging from madrigals and motets to major works with orchestra, including the Brahms Requiem and Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Jack also accompanied Delaware’s Senior All State Chorus for five years, and from 2013 to 2017 was accompanist for the University of Delaware Chorale under the direction of Paul Head.
Jack is known not only for his skills as a trainer of choral singers of all ages and levels of ability, but as a gifted composer. Two award-winning compositions originated as commissioned works: “As the Deer Longs for the Waterbrooks” was the first-place winner of a 2001 competition sponsored by the Association of Anglican Musicians; “Put Your Trust In God” was the 2020 winner of the Peter and Lois Fyfe Choral Composition Competition, sponsored by the Sewanee Church Music Conference. Both works are published by Selah. Other commissions have included an anthem with brass for the 50th anniversary of the Delaware Chapter of the AGO, two anthems for First Presbyterian Church of Evansville, Indiana, a setting of Wordsworth’s “The Singer” commissioned by CoroAllegro, and an anthem for the ordination of a former chorister, commissioned by his parents. The Hymnal 1982 includes five of Jack’s hymntune harmonizations, and several items of his service music appear in the supplemental hymnal Wonder, Love, and Praise.
A member of the RSCM King’s College Course staff since 1998, Jack holds degrees in sacred music from Houghton College (NY) and Catholic University of America, as well as Associate and Choirmaster certificates of the American Guild of Organists. He has served as Dean and Subdean of the Delaware Chapter, AGO; and he is a Past President of the Association of Anglican Musicians. He lives in Delaware with his wife; and all three of his children have attended many RSCM Summer Courses.